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  • KQIs (Key Quality Indicators) To Measure Data Quality

    Posted on August 18th, 2009 goloboym No comments

    At the recent MIT Information Quality Industry Symposium, the hot topic was measuring the impact of data quality programs. In a bad economy, it makes perfect sense. If your company is cutting programs, you need to justify your data quality initiatives, or they too will be cut. My favorite presentation on the topic was from Delphine Clement, whose topic was the, “Cost of Non Quality Data.” I thought that was an interesting way to look at it, and she presented a very mature view of Data Management. Delphine credited sessions from previous MIT Information Quality Symposiums with some of the underlying theory. I’m sure there are others to credit as well, and if you know the history please comment.

    Delphine reports on the Key Quality Indicators (KQIs) that matter the most to her business partners. She has taught the business community that KQIs are needed to build confidence in the KPIs. I like that the KQI approach mirrors the KPIs (in naming and level of importance), and that they are presented as a complementary report. Think of this as the metadata for the KPIs. That’s the way I rationalized it.

    KQIs would make sense to any Data Quality lead, but it might not to a VP of Marketing or VP of Sales. It’s not their job to care how we do ours. So how do you bridge the gap with the executive KPI users? You must understand their needs, and show them that the KQIs are driving the data quality projects in your organization. They will only care if the KQIs help to resolve their issues. Also, KQIs may be used to show them progress in your data quality programs. When you complete a project and are able to turn a yellow (cautionary) indicator to green (good), they will understand how the project affected their work.

    Delphine’s approach begins by asking business leads and other data users a simple question, “How should we measure data quality.” She gathers feedback via surveys from her business customers and measures progress through response trending over time. Sounds like internal Marketing, right? Delphine also presented a methodology for measuring direct vs. indirect cost savings from Data Quality initiatives. She has clearly spent a lot of time working on this approach and is doing a great job. I really enjoyed this presentation.

    She also recommended involving the end users early on to define:

    • What are the Key Quality Indicators (KQIs) that are important to the business?
    • Should the KQIs be global or local?
    • What is the cost of poor quality data?
    • Are the KQI’s different by country?

    I love these questions. Simple, direct, and open. Rather than telling our peers how we should be measured, ask them and include them in the KQI process.

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